A putative ketogenic diet elicits mild nutritional ketosis but does not impair the acute or chronic hypertrophic responses to resistance exercise in rodents
Michael D. Roberts Journal of Applied Physiology Published 30 December 2015
We examined whether acute and/or chronic skeletal muscle anabolism is impaired with a low carbohydrate diet formulated to elicit ketosis (LCKD) versus a mixed-macronutrient Western diet (WD). Male Sprague-Dawley rats (9-10 weeks of age, 300-325 g) were provided isoenergetic amounts of a LCKD or a WD for 6 weeks. In AIM 1, basal serum and gastrocnemius assessments were performed. In AIM 2, rats were resistance-exercised for one bout and were euthanized 90-270 min following exercise for gastrocnemius analyses. In AIM 3, rats voluntarily-exercised daily using resistance-loaded running wheels, and hind limb muscles were analyzed for hypertrophy markers at the end of the 6 week protocol. In AIM 1, basal levels of gastrocnemius phosphorylated (p)-rps6, p-4EBP1 and p-AMPKα were similar between diets, although serum insulin (P<0.01), serum glucose (P<0.001), and several essential amino acid levels (P<0.05) were lower in LCKD-fed rats. In AIM 2, LCKD- and WD-fed rats exhibited increased post-exercise muscle protein synthesis (MPS) levels (P<0.0125), but no diet effect was observed (P=0.59). In AIM 3, chronically exercise-trained LCKD- and WD-fed rats presented similar increases in relative hind limb muscle masses compared to their sedentary counterparts (12-24%, p<0.05), but there was no between-diet effects. Importantly, the LCKD induced ‘mild’ nutritional ketosis, as the LCKD-fed rats in AIM 2 exhibited ~1.5-fold greater serum beta-hydroxybutyrate levels relative to WD-fed rats (diet effect P=0.003). This study demonstrates that the tested LCKD in rodents, while only eliciting mild nutritional ketosis, does not impair the acute or chronic skeletal muscle hypertrophic responses to resistance exercise.
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